Hospitals face what can often seem like insurmountable odds. Mired in an environment of ever-increasing regulations, unfunded mandates, demand for services and rising costs that outpace smaller increases in reimbursement, philanthropy is becoming more and more critical. The word philanthropy means “love of humankind.” Nowhere is that more evident than in not-for-profit hospitals that typically began when a group of concerned citizens raised funds to ensure their community could access the best health care available.
To learn more about philanthropy in hospitals, Smart Business spoke to Jim Normandin, president of the Memorial Medical Center Foundation at both Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.
How important is philanthropy to hospitals?
These are your community hospitals, and philanthropy makes a difference. Even in challenging times with less discretionary income, we are witnessing a larger number of donors committing their support to becoming engaged to ensure their communities have access to the highest quality health care close to home.
Philanthropic donors and organizations are partners in planning for and achieving success at Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children’s. This is especially true at a time when many hospitals report an inability to access the newest technology and expand programs to meet the needs of the community. Thanks to countless philanthropic friends, we are able to add the programs, services and facilities that are necessary to keep pace with important medical innovations and advances.
How does philanthropy support hospitals?
Every gift has a story. These stories all begin with a philanthropic friend, continue through the work of our health care team and then impact the lives of our patients and our communities. Every week premature babies are saved, elderly patients comforted, illnesses diagnosed, bones mended and lives saved thanks to the generous philanthropy of individuals, corporations and private foundations in our caring communities.
Philanthropy elevates a life of success to a life of significance. We see people making that choice every day: children raising $12 for cancer research through a lemonade stand, individuals funding charitable trusts and annuities, others making outright major gifts, board members providing expert leadership, hundreds of volunteers and organizations sponsoring fund-raising events and all of them appreciate the value of having high-quality patient care today and in the future.
In addition, many individuals choose to fund endowments that provide sustainability to critical patient programs and continuing medical education.
What is the history of philanthropy at your facilities?
When Long Beach Memorial opened in 1907, a few physicians and community members each donated $200 to begin what is today the second-largest community hospital campus in the West. Community philanthropists were responsible for the state’s largest children’s hospital when the late Earl and Loraine Miller’s generosity helped build Miller Children’s in 1970 and their own foundation continued with a lead gift of $5 million for Miller Children’s $151 million expansion project that was completed last year.
Our 100-plus years of offering quality, compassionate care is based on the generosity and the expertise of extraordinary individuals. The Memorial Medical Center Foundation has funded patient programs, continuing medical education, clinical research, expansion projects and medical equipment with philanthropic funds entrusted to us by our donors and grantors. The gifts, grants and bequests given to the Memorial Medical Center Foundation help distinguish our hospitals among the top medical institutions in the country.
MemorialCare Health System also does its share to help our communities. In fiscal 2009, our medical centers provided $158 million in charity care and community benefits. We are active in our local communities and have worked in partnerships with March of Dimes, Habitat for Humanity and the American Heart Association.
How can employers help?
Philanthropy is an effective tool for companies trying to meet consumers’ rising expectations for the role businesses should play in society, says a McKinsey survey. Employers and their work force help ensure high-quality health care through many philanthropic channels individual gifts, corporate grants, payroll deductions, in-kind gifts, major gifts, estate and planned gifts, tributes, corporate giving, fund raising events, sponsorships, endowments and more. As businesses continue to be impacted by the economy, many are supplementing charitable giving with longer-term pledges and gift commitments. ‘Partnerships in Excellence,’ a caring group of business owners and executives, supports our capital equipment needs. Through their fund-raising efforts, we have recently acquired a hyperbaric chamber for wound care, advanced rehabilitation system for walking difficulties, advanced digital imaging technology and giraffe beds for our neonatal intensive care unit. We are deeply indebted to those who choose a life of significance through their generous philanthropic commitments and trust their philanthropy to us.
Jim Normandin is president of Memorial Medical Center Foundation at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit memorialcare.org.